By Sally Lunn
The number of ways you can prepare spaghetti is infinite. Even when you narrow it down to what we call “Italian” spaghetti there are dozens of possible sauces. Look at the menu in an Italian restaurant and you will see these variations listed under fancy names. And every home maker can turn out her own exclusive blend of spaghetti sauce. But if you want something that will taste like the Italian chef’s it’s well to learn and stick to a few simple rules. The flavor simply won’t be right unless you use olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, and parmesan or sharp cheese.
To make the basic sauce, put three tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy kettle and in this fry three large onions, chopped or sliced. If you lack confidence in using garlic, at least put one peeled “clove” of it in to cook with the sauce and remove it later. My own way is to chop the garlic very fine and cook it with the onions, and for this quantity of sauce I would use at least two large cloves of garlic. When onions are golden brown, add one can of tomatoes (strained) and two cans of concentrated tomato paste. Salt to taste. Let this simmer over a slow fire for at least an hour–or until it looks about as thick as catsup.
Meatballs are made of ground fresh beef or beef and veal, and like to flavor them with a little more garlic, chopped very fine, mixed in by kneading with the hands. No egg, or bread, or other filler is used–just the ground meat, seasoned with salt and pepper shaped into small balls, browned in olive oil, then placed in the sauce to simmer until thoroughly cooked. Or you can add ground fresh meat directly to the sauce without forming into balls. About one point of meat is the quantity for this recipe.
To make a more elaborate and flavorsome sauce, cook with it shredded green or red sweet peppers, and fresh or canned mushrooms.
to prepare the spaghetti itself, use a large kettle and plenty of salted water, which should be boiling when the spaghetti is placed in it. (If you want to stick to the Italian style, don’t break the spaghetti but leave it in long strands.) Boil rapidly until tender, drain, and rinse with hot water to remove excess starch. For this quantity of sauce one pound of spaghetti would be about right.
do not put the spaghetti into the sauce, but arrange it on a deep platter or casserole as shown in the picture. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti, or bring it to the table in a separate serving dish so that each person may help himself.
It’s quite essential to have a bowlful of grated sharp cheese (Parmesan in the Italian variety) which is sprinkled generously by each diner over his portion. Crisp bread sticks, or a crusty loaf of French bread warmed in the oven should go with this meal. Because the spaghetti is very filling I serve only a very simple green salad, and a light dessert, such as fruit.
Editor’s Note: This is a transcription of a magazine clipping taped onto page 8.